ASU Swingers through 2003
In 1997, the ASU Swingers unofficially came into existence. In 1998, the founding sisters, Joy Frimmel, her sister Anna, and fellow student Dana Drensek, legalized the ASU Swingers. The three saw different bands come into Legends and hold different kinds of dances, such as, jazz, salsa, and contra. Dana noticed that the dancers were unsure of what they were doing and since they didnt really know the basics, they would try to seek help when there really wasnt any. Joy, Anna, and Dana wanted to form a club that would offer the opportunity for ASU students and the community to learn how to Swing, the idea was to hold dances like the other bands did, but to actually teach the different dance moves. They came into Jim Streets office wanting to start this club and needed to know where to start. Jim showed them the process and offered to become the clubs sponsor. Thus, the ASU Swingers were born.
They began teaching in a small room in Sanford Hall. Then asked the Student Programs office if they could move to Legends were there was a large room and dance floor. For the regular meetings Student Programs, who wouldnt ordinarily do that, cut a deal with the Swingers, if they kept their numbers above 50 then they could use Legends. Student Programs doesnt usually do something like that for a small group because it isnt cost effective, but because of the need for a dance floor, they made an exception.
The first official year, the ASU Swingers began working with the Jazz band at their concerts at Legends. They opened up the dance floor for those who knew the basics and just wanted to dance, and then they would clear off the raised floor in the back of the room and teach the basics to those who wished to learn. The second year, swing dancing was in its peak during the fad, and the ASU Swingers had a membership of over 100. They began co-sponsoring Swing dances with the APPS office. The ASU Swingers would be paid to teach swing lessons at the dance, while APPS took care of everything else.
By 2001, the Swingers had two types of members, those to whom swing dancing really was a fad, and those for whom swing dancing would never go out of fashion. Those for whom swing dancing was a fad stuck around long enough to learn the basics, then moved on. Those who loved the dance became loyal members. Also, the Swingers numbers began dwindling. At the end of the 2000-2001 academic year, they were asked by student programs to find somewhere else to hold their meetings given that their membership had dropped below 50. They relocated to Quinn Center, where they still dance on the aerobics floor. That building is staffed regularly so it was cost effective for the club and the university. The loyal members were getting really good at the basics and wanted to learn the more advanced moves. Quinn Center had mats that could be put down, versus using just the tile dance floor in Legends, thus making it safer.
In 2000, there was one couple in particular who got very involved in swing dancing, Jason Cole and Dechari Moose took all that they learned in swing club and ran with it. They began receiving professional lessons outside of swing and began performing professionally and at competitions. They brought all they learned back to the Swingers and taught them. Jason and Dechari were the main teachers for the swingers, and then went on to take over Joy, Anna and Danas positions in the leadership of the club in 2001. Even as the numbers dwindled, the flame never went out, the love and appreciation of the dance continued.
In the spring semester of 2003, Olin Eargle became president. The club has grown from less than 50 members, now has a float in the homecoming parades, and holds 4 dances per year. I think his words say it the best:
I want everyone who is interested to feel free to come out and learn how to swing, while having a great time.--As semesters go on, swing changes, and it is all for the best. We have learned through experiences about the best nights to have club, which happens to work out of Wednesdays, the best nights and places to have dances, we've began ordering club shirts, and now you can have swing go on your unofficial transcript as a member of an ASU club. This gives ASU students and people of Boone a chance to come out and dance with us every week and share their ideas with us. What was started here on campus has lasted and I think will last for time to come. This club has done nothing but prosper since I have been a part of it, and people continue to enjoy learning about swing.
Joy and Anna Frimmel and Dana Drensek have left a legacy; Jason Cole, Dechari Moose, and Olin Eargle have continued that legacy. Joy, Anna, and Danas legacy is truly the love of the dance. They brought the community and the students together, gave them a common ground through swing dancing, and provided both with a place to meet and expand their knowledge and love of the dance. Jason, Dechari and Olin have taken Joy, Anna and Danas legacy and ran with it, carrying the still-burning torch. Dana truly sums it up best:
We have united the [Boone] Community and ASU. When I was there, there were lots of people from the community who just wanted to learn the dancewe gave people the opportunity not just to learn to dance, but to love the dance when we started the club. Prior to that, there was quite an interest in the dance, lots of people wanted to learn, but there was never an opportunity. We provided that for them, a big opportunity.
The ASU Swing Dance Club 2007-2008
Several themed danced including Swing like a rockstar, and a Halloween dance were just the beginning of swing glory. At the Halloween dance there was an epic costume contest. The winners were Christine Chen (dressed as Crookshanks), Sonya Laws (dressed as Hermione Granger), and Tim, the out of town instructor of the night (he coincidentally looks like Harry Potter and was thus recruited for the contest).
Several devoted Swingers traveled to Asheville dances, Lindy Focus, and Lindy hop exchanges around the south east.
At the end of the year, instructors Lindsay Longsreth and Mead McLean moved on to far away lands to better their dance in many ways. After their graduation from Appalachian State University, the swingers still attending were left to teach a new generation of swing dancers and enthusiasts.
The Appalachian Swing Dance Club 2011-2012
Our club has shrunk dramatically since the swing fad days of the 90's. Where once was over 100 then was 50 and now our numbers hover at 20 on our best days. But we persevere and as a result our club is beginning to see more new faces.
Meetings moved to Mondays at 8:30 to accommodate changes in the Quinn's schedule. We also introduced a (relatively) standardized way to teach basics brought from Maggie's wonderful teachers in Northern VA. Next came the introduction of modern music. For a long time swing club played exclusively swing music and though it rubbed some the wrong way, we started playing modern. We needed people to feel like they could dance swing to whatever they'd like because few of our beginners had ever heard swing music. Also we started meeting a second time on Friday's at 5 in the varsity gym (where ever we could find space) to just social dance and plan lessons for the next week, as well as attending meetings with the Blowing Rock Shag Club on Tuesday evenings at 7:30.
Regular Travel! We danced with the Triangle Dance Society at the Millbrook School in Durham to The Tin Pan, at the Highland Brewery in Asheville to Christobel (a band some in the club know personally), Swing into Spring in Columbia SC, The Jive Aces (Maggie's favorite) in Dulles, VA and Glen Echo Park in Maryland, and even MADjam (HUGE) in Tysons Corner, VA.